MEDFORD, Ore. – Over a hundred parents, school officials and state legislators met Tuesday night to discuss how to help students in Oregon’s struggling education system.
The main topic of discussion was Governor John Kitzhaber’s proposed budget plan. He’s asking to cut $865 million to the Public Employees Retirement System, or “PERS”, to fund schools and educational programs. The plan has come under fire by state workers and unions who say taking away from retirement benefits to help schools isn’t the right move. Parents fear the proposal will not make it far.
“And that legislation we know is going to be argued in the court system and has previously not been successfully argued in the court system. It seems crazy to me to say that this is the money schools are going to have. We have no idea if this is the money schools are going to have,” said parent Heather Molzer.
Under his plan, $253 million of that will hire teachers and help the K-12 education system through several initiatives like helping students reach proficient levels of reading by the 3rd grade.
“ I know the governor really has worked hard on scouring every part of this state budget and say how much resource do we get out of this as we can, in all parts of state government. But especially making an investment in education. I know those kinds of ideas have been considered and I think the legislation will consider a few others,” said deputy superintendent of public instruction, Rob Saxton.
Click here for more information about the governor’s plan.